Join        Login             Stock Quote

Jobless Claims Rise, But Remain Near 2012 Lows

 December 20, 2012 10:16 AM

Jobless claims increased by 17,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 361,000. The pop isn't surprising, nor is it particularly worrisome at this point. As I noted earlier today, before the report's release, my average econometric forecast called for a gain to 361,000. That's exactly what we got—a freak incident of specificity, no doubt. In any case, the higher level of claims looks like noise within the range that's prevailed for much of this year. As a result, today's number, despite what you might hear otherwise, is mostly a yawn.

[Related -Initial Jobless Claims Rose Unexpectedly]

New filings for jobless benefits in the neighborhood of 360,000 suggests more of what we've seen in recent months: a labor market that's growing modestly. Last week's four-week average for claims was just under 368,000, or near the lowest levels for this year.

Meanwhile, claims dropped 4.9% last week on an unadjusted basis relative to the year-earlier level. That's a positive sign in that it was a bigger decline than the comparable rate for previous week, although the recent upward bias in this metric looks a bit troubling… if it continues. Before Hurricane Sandy, unadjusted claims were dropping by roughly 10% a year. Post-hurricane data has been falling at a lesser pace. It may simply be blowback from the distorting effects of the storm, in which case we'll see the year-over-year rate move closer to -10% in the weeks ahead. If not, weekly claims may be sending a warning about the labor market for the new year.

[Related -All Quiet on the Record High Front]

The good news is that last week's annual decline of 4.9% is convincingly lower than the previous week's -1.5% drop. It's worth noting too that a ~5% decline rate at the end of 2011 was typical in the final weeks of last year. That didn't derail the primary trend of modest improvement in the labor market in 2012, although we did have a bumpy ride for a time. History doesn't necessarily repeat, but it may rhyme.

For now, it's premature to say there's a change afoot. Indeed, this is a volatile series and it's always dangerous to assume too much from one or two reports. Nonetheless, the next round of numbers deserve careful scrutiny.

iOnTheMarket Premium


Post Comment -- Login is required to post message
Alert for new comments:
Your email:
Your Website:

rss feed

Latest Stories

article imageInitial Jobless Claims Rose Unexpectedly

Claims unexpectedly rose in the latest report through last weekend to breach 300,000 for the first time read on...

article imageAll Quiet on the Record High Front

What can we glean from the media’s lack of attention to the market’s recent record read on...

article imageThe Chip Maker Short Sellers Should Be Watching

Investing in semiconductor stocks is always tricky. Industry cycles can lead to bumps in the road for the read on...

article imageChicago Fed: US Economic Growth Slowed In October

The pace of US growth slowed more than expected in October, according to this morning’s update of the read on...

Popular Articles

Daily Sector Scan
Partner Center

Fundamental data is provided by Zacks Investment Research, and Commentary, news and Press Releases provided by YellowBrix and Quotemedia.
All information provided "as is" for informational purposes only, not intended for trading purposes or advice. iStockAnalyst.com is not an investment adviser and does not provide, endorse or review any information or data contained herein.
The blog articles are opinions by respective blogger. By using this site you are agreeing to terms and conditions posted on respective bloggers' website.
The postings/comments on the site may or may not be from reliable sources. Neither iStockAnalyst nor any of its independent providers is liable for any informational errors, incompleteness, or delays, or for any actions taken in reliance on information contained herein. You are solely responsible for the investment decisions made by you and the consequences resulting therefrom. By accessing the iStockAnalyst.com site, you agree not to redistribute the information found therein.
The sector scan is based on 15-30 minutes delayed data. The Pattern scan is based on EOD data.